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Deck Analysis: Pendulums

July 9th, 2016

Pendulums are a very interesting strategy to talk about, simply because the mechanic is what defines the Deck. Because of this, Pendulum strategies tend to have a lot of different themes in them. Mixing archetypes isn’t always the best idea, but with the inherent synergies of the Pendulum mechanic it is clear why it is considered one of the top dogs. Its card pool is just naturally bigger than most other Decks because there are so many different Pendulum archetypes, and ultimately this causes each list to look very different from the other.

As of right now, there are two primary variants of Pendulums that are seeing lot of success. The first one is Performapals, the most dominant Pendulum Deck we have seen thus far. Since its release in Breakers of Shadow, it took down three different North American YCS events. The craziest part about it? Between each event there was some change via the Adjusted List or Forbidden & Limited List, and even after taking a bunch of hits the Deck still came out on top. The reason for its continued success is due to two things, the first being the Performapal engine. Performapal Monkeyboard and Performapal Pendulum Skullcrobat Joker represent ways to make a full Pendulum Scale with only a single card, which is important because losing out on two cards by using them simply as Pendulum Scales isn’t very strong. Performapal Pendulum Sorcerer is also huge; destroying your Pendulums is really just putting them into your Extra Deck to be Summoned back later, and finding more Performapals is always a good thing. Each Performapal can also be used to find the others, which is really what gives the strategy consistency.

In addition to the Performapals, the Dracoslayers and Dracoverlords also gave the Deck another dimension. Luster Pendulum, the Dracoslayer effectively gets you an extra card because you destroy a Pendulum to add another, which means you can Special Summon the original from your Extra Deck later. It is also a Tuner, which is the key way to Summon Ignister Prominence, the Blasting Dracoslayer. Getting an extra Dracoslayer into play and shuffling back opponent’s cards is super strong, and because you can extend your combos by summoning Master Pendulum, the Dracoslayer things can get even crazier. Draco Face-Off is also one of the most powerful spells right now, giving the Performapal pilot immediate access to Luster Pendulum, the Dracoslayer and a Vector Pendulum, the Dracoverlord. Anytime a single card leads you to having two cards is probably a good place to be. Combo all of that with Dinoster Power, the Mighty Dracoslayer and the ability to make Number 38: Hope Harbinger Dragon Titanic Galaxy, and you can see why Performapal Pendulum is so strong.

The other popular Pendulum variant is Odd-Eyes Magicians. What this version excels at is not really crazy combos or ways to gain resources, but rather consistency and strong threats. Pendulum Call guarantees a way to easily find Pendulum Scales and make sure you get going, alongside the added utility of powerful Magician Pendulum Monsters. The real reason to be using this variant though is the powerful Monsters you get to summon.

Mist Valley Apex Avian never saw too much competitive play until the release of Pendulums, but it makes sense why we see it now. Pendulums give you an easy way to not only Summon the Avian, but Summon it over and over again. This lets you be a little reckless with what you’re negating knowing that you can always Pendulum Summon it back down the next turn. Your win condition is Summoning huge threats that not only end the game quickly, but disrupt your opponent enough so you can get an opening. Mist Valley Apex Avian is great at that, but there is one card that might be a little better.

Majespecter Unicorn – Kirin is the real deal. It’s super resilient and can help you break up opposing fields. The best part about it is that it returns cards back to the hand or in some cases the Extra Deck, and with public enemy number one being Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal you can see why that would be strong. Unlike Mist Valley Apex Avian, Kirin has two more additional upsides. First, it can be used as a Pendulum Scale, which is nice if your hand is in dire need of one. In addition, it can also be searched via Majespecter Raccoon – Bunbuku. Having a good way to find your win condition is nice, and in the same way that you can use Kirin as a Pendulum Scale, Bunbuku can be as well. The fact that Bunbuku is a high scale and Kirin is a low scale also gives you a bit of utility, but a high Pendulum Scale of 5 typically won’t work too well in this version.

Recently, both variants got a huge boost from Sky Iris. It helps the consistency of finding whichever Pendulum Scales you might be missing, while allowing you to effectively gain cards because you’ll be destroying Pendulums in the process. It gives each strategy access to Odd-Eyes Fusion, which can help them get out of a tough spot when going second. Performapal Odd-Eyes Unicorn is also a high Pendulum Scale, which is super important for the Odd-Eyes Magician lists. Both lists also use Terraforming alongside their Sky Iris for added consistency, but the additional spells are huge for the Performapal variant, thanks to Magical Abductor.

Pendulums have performed well since their release, and even after taking a bunch of hits are still seated among the best. Will it reign supreme this weekend? Stay tuned until Sunday to find out!